Myth-Folklore Unit: Beowulf

Overview. Beowulf is the hero of an Old English (Anglo-Saxon) epic poem that was composed in England around the eighth or ninth century, but which narrates legendary events that took place in Scandinavia hundreds of years earlier, perhaps around the fifth century. As the story begins, we meet Beowulf as a young man, ambitious but untested in battle. He hears of a monster, Grendel, that is devastating the lands of Hrothgar, King of the Danes, and he resolves to go forth and defeat that monster. Grendel is not the only monster that Beowulf must face, as he also battles Grendel's mother, and a fire-breathing dragon also! The version you will read here — The Story of Beowulf by Strafford Riggs — is a prose adaptation in modern English. You get to read the complete book (it was just the right length for a reading unit in this class!), and I think you will find that Riggs's style is very lively and easy to read.

Language. This is a modern prose adaptation of the ancient poem, easy to read.

Story Length. This is the entire story of Beowulf; the book was the exact right length for a reading unit in this class (15,000 words).

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on two pages total: Beowulf. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom of that page to see the second page.

  1. King Hygelac of Geatsland
  2. The Young Beowulf
  3. The Wanderer's Song
  4. Beowulf's Resolve
  5. Beowulf's Journey
  6. Beowulf Lands in Daneland
  7. Beowulf Comes to Heorot
  8. The Words of Unferth
  9. The Words of Beowulf
  1. Grendel Attacks
  2. The Battle with Grendel
  3. A New Misfortune
  4. Seeking Grendel's Mother
  5. Beowulf Battles Grendel's Mother
  6. Beowulf's Triumph
  7. The Arrival of the Dragon
  8. Preparing for Battle
  9. Battle with the Dragon
  10. The End of Beowulf